Germany 4-0 Argentina.
Well I sure got that one wrong. Germany dominated 1st 15 minutes, got a goal in the 3rd minute, and looked like they might run away with it. Then Argentina settled down and from about the 15th minute to the 60th minute they looked more likely to score. The game was very open and it was obvious another goal was coming, it was just a matter of which team would get it. Germany got it, and then Argentina had to go forward in desperation which just left them more exposed at the back, and by the end, a game that was a very close affair for 60 minutes ended up being the 4-0 route that it looked like it might be after the first 10 minutes.
What We Learned
1. Maradona's tactical inexperience and seemingly whimsical selections and substitutions finally caught up with him. The whole world was aching for Diego Milito to come on for Higuain as the 2nd half progressed, or Kun Aguero for Tevez, or Veron or Pastore. Only Pastore came on before it was too late, and bizarrely neither Milito or Veron ever came on. Milito could have changed the game as a guy who can a) create a goal from nothing and b) likely get more attention from Germany's defense because he can create a goal from nothing, thereby perhaps freeing up Lionel Messi, who was relentlessly double teamed & triple teamed by Germany and marked out of the game perhaps better than I have ever seen before (Mourinho's Inter v Barca included). And not to bring on Veron, his *own* controversial selection, who played so amazingly well earlier in the world cup when used and seemed to validate his selection by El Diego, was just flat out bizarre. When push came to shove, 1 of the 2 greatest players to ever kick a ball came up wanting as a tactical manager.
2. At this hour, Maradona is no longer on Diego Milito's christmas card list.
3. Sheer talent once again does not win out against outstanding teamwork and tactics. This is why Zonal Marking should be the first soccer site you read every day, for it contains the best soccer writing in the world as far as understanding how games are won or lost.
4. Europe is by no means dead. If Spain win today, 3 of the 4 semifinalists will be... from Europe. When everyone was talking about how poorly Europe was doing last week, a voice of reason reminded you that Europe was by no means dead and not to believe the knee-jerk, overreacting press. And now only Paraguay & Uruguay can prevent Europe from winning it's first World Cup on foreign soil.
5. *IF* Spain can hold on against Paraguay, pay close attention to who picks up yellow cards today for Spain, and if they will miss the semifinal. As the deepest team in the tournament, they should be affected least by such suspensions, but while right now everyone is talking about how Spain are at an advantage against Germany because Muller will miss the semifinal for yellow card accumulation, they need to wait until Spain-Paraguay is over to see 1) if Spain actually win the game and 2) if any crucial players for Spain end up suspended for the semifinal themselves.
6. In 2006 Miroslav Klose became the 1st player to score 5 goals in 2 different World Cups- he scored 5 in 2002 and 5 in 2006, and now he has 4 more raising his total to 14, which is 1 short of the all time record of 15 held by Ronaldo of Brasil. to put this acomplishment in perspective, consider that Pele has 12. Also, a)Klose has a great chance to tie and break the record in this world cup b) in addition to his 4 goals in 5 matches in this world cup, he has managed to miss 2 or 3 absolute sitters, which if converted would mean he would already hold the all time record c) He is the ultimate example of a player who thirives for country but not for club (whereas Messi is the opposite) 4 goals in 5 games for Germany at this World Cup, 3 goals all season in last year's Bundesliga for BayernMunich. With 23 goals in 78 games for Bayern since 2007, it's harsh to label him a disappointment as many do, but you understand where they are coming from when you consider his 52 goals in 100 appearances for Germany, and his 14 goals and counting in his 17 world cup games from 2002-2010. That's damn near Gerd Muller-ish.